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What are these tiny reddish-brown bugs in our bathroom?

Question: We’ve been having a problem with tiny reddish-brown bugs in the master bath of our brand-new home. They are heaviest on the tile closet floor, in the shower and around the toilet. They are very tiny, almost like fleas, but are reddish in color and do not fly. (We live in Missouri, and they started up in the middle of the summer.) Any ideas what we could be dealing with?

Answer: It’s hard to be sure from your description. One possibility is that they could be carpet beetle larvae or a stored (pantry) product pest. It could be another insect or pest. Having a specimen or conducting an inspection would give us a definite identification. It could possibly be carpet beetle larvae. They are brown and banded with brown and pale stripes. There are long ”hairs” at the tail end. They move slowly. People often find the molted skins of these larvae in cabinets and in closets. They are an indication of an ongoing infestation of carpet beetles. The adults are often seen indoors in the spring. Adults will usually be around flowering plants inside as well as outside since they feed on the pollen of the flowers.

Carpet Beetle Larva Illustration

Carpet beetles are considered to be fabric pests. The larvae can feed on lots of different kinds of material. Thus, they can infest almost any place in your house. They often attack woolens, skins, leather, feathers. They can even live on dead insects.

Here are some things you can do just to try to eliminate some of the sources or conditions that are attracting them:

  • Vacuum thoroughly.

  • Dry-clean and store woolens in sealed containers or boxes.

  • Check leather items, dried flower arrangements and even silks—flowers and garments.

  • Throw away any infested packages.

For additional help and proper identification, your best bet is to call the local Orkin Branch Office.

They will send a highly trained Orkin Pest Specialist who will conduct a comprehensive inspection of your home. The Orkin Pest Specialist will assess the situation and develop a customized solution, backed by science, that best meets your needs.

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